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Falconcity of Wonders plots to go under hammer in Dubai

Visitors look at the Falconcity of Wonders model at a Dubai property fair in 2012 Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah
Visitors look at the Falconcity of Wonders model at a Dubai property fair in 2012
  • Auction starting price is $702m
  • Plots to be sold as one package
  • Replica Taj Mahal had been planned for site

Hundreds of plots of land at a Dubai development that promised homebuyers views of a replica Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal have been put up for auction.

The Falconcity of Wonders project was launched in 2005, at the height of the Dubai real estate boom, and its masterplan included districts themed around Paris and Venice.

Models of the project were once a common sight at UAE property fairs but nearly two decades on, the replica “wonders” at Falconcity have not materialised. A total of 794 plots at the site near Global Village Dubai have been offered for auction.

All the plots are being sold together, Emirates Auction confirmed, and the starting price for the entire package is AED2.58 billion ($702 million).

The plots cover 15 million square feet. The land was for villas, apartments, townhouses, hotels, shops, offices, a mall and a theme park, according to the Emirates Auction website.

Bidding will end at 5pm on August 30.

Falconcity of Wonders did not respond to AGBI’s request for comment.

Alharith bin Salem Al Moosa, vice-chairman of Falconcity of Wonders, told Reuters in 2016 that the project’s delays were down to sub-developers who had failed to build the replica landmarks.

Al Moosa added that the developer was in talks with potential investors for new funding of $2 billion and the project could be completed by 2020.

The developer's plan for the site, which is near Global Village DubaiFalconcity of Wonders
The developer’s plan for the site, which is near Global Village Dubai
New York, right across the road from London

The original masterplan for the AED5.5 billion Falconcity development included a Taj Mahal replica four times the size of the original and a Dubai version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The site measured 41 million square feet and districts recreating London, New York, Rome, Beirut and Old Dubai were planned.

Other replica landmarks in the masterplan include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China and Big Ben, as well as the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Great Pyramid at Giza.

A Dubai real estate analyst told AGBI it was likely the land would be bought by a consortium, rather than one developer.

Although prime land in the city is in demand, the analyst said a single company was unlikely to take a risk on the site, especially as it is not near the beachfront.

Dubai has seen a resurgence of some high-profile projects from the boom era. Nakheel confirmed in September last year that it was relaunching its Palm Jebel Ali development, originally announced in 2002. The Dubai Pearl, which was also launched in 2002 but stalled in the wake of the global financial slowdown, is being given a new lease of life.